Mid-Term Election Results: What This Could Mean for Education
This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
On Tuesday, voters across the nation headed to the polls to cast their ballot in the highly anticipated 2022 mid-term elections; with millions more participating in early voting or vote by mail. We will not have final results in the Senate until at least December 6t and House results continue to trickle in, but please take a read below for an analysis on where things stand today and what this could mean for education policy.
Mid-Term Election Results and What This Could Mean for Education
Political analysts across the nation anticipated that the 2022 mid-term elections would bring about a ‘red wave,’ with Republicans dominantly taking control of both the House and the Senate as the country battles rising costs due to inflation, labor shortages, and declining approval ratings for President Biden and the Democratic party. But, on Tuesday, Democrats surpassed all expectations.
All Members of the House of Representatives are up for re-election on even years and either party needs to secure 218 of the 435 seats to obtain the majority. Keep in mind, to pass measures in the House you only need a simple majority, compared to the Senate where you need 60 of the 100 possible votes with the exception of reconciliation. As of Friday morning, the GOP holds 211 seats, picking up 7 seats and the Democrats have secured 192 seats, losing 9 seats. 403 of the 435 seats have been called with votes still being counted in 32 races. By all accounts it appears the GOP is slated to take control of the House moving into the 118th Congress.
In the Senate, things initially were not as clear. 35 of the 100 Senate seats were up for election this cycle with key races including: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Arizona. As of Monday morning, after taking two key seats in Arizona and Nevada Democrats have again taken control of the Senate with Democrats holding 50 seats and Republicans in control of 49 seats in the Senate, with one race still influx: Georgia. Georgia will go to a run-off on December 6th because no candidate received at least 50% of the vote; however, incumbent Sen. Warnock (D-GA) led the race with 49.4% of votes, GOP challenger Herschel Walker with 48.5%, and Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver securing 2.1% of the vote. Even if Republicans would pick up Georgia and the Senate would be evenly split, Democrats will still hold the majority due to Vice President Harris presiding as President of the Senate and stepping in to cast tie breaking votes.
All Members of the House of Representatives are up for re-election on even years and either party needs to secure 218 of the 435 seats to obtain the majority. Keep in mind, to pass measures in the House you only need a simple majority, compared to the Senate where you need 60 of the 100 possible votes with the exception of reconciliation. As of Monday morning, the GOP holds 217 seats, picking up 8 seats and the Democrats have secured 205 seats, losing 8 seats. 422 of the 435 seats have been called with votes still being counted in 13 races. By all accounts it appears the GOP is slated to take control of the House moving into the 118th Congress.
What does all of this mean for education policy at the federal level? Perhaps quite a bit. On the Senate side, Democrats on the HELP committee who were up for re-election held two critical seats with Senator Murray (D-WA) and Senator Hassan (D-NH) coming out victorious. Republican committee members easily held onto their seats with Senator Paul and Senator Scott both dominating in their respective races. The committee will see significant changes in leadership with Chairwoman Murray taking on a leadership role on the Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member Burr (R-NC) retiring. It appears that Senator Sanders (D-VT) will take on the leadership role for the Democrats on HELP with either Senator Paul (R-KY) or Senator Cassidy(R-LA) taking on the leadership role for Republicans.
On the House side, Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) easily won his re-election bid. However, a series of resignations and primary defeats will significantly shake up the makeup of the committee. With the GOP slated to take control of the House, current Ranking Member Virginia Foxx submitted a waiver to remain on the committee- she currently is term limited. If the waiver is granted Dr. Foxx would become Chairwoman, if not it appears Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) will take the helm.
On the Appropriations side, both the Chair and Ranking Member will be retiring this year: Senators Lehay (D-VT) and Shelby (R-AL) with Senator Murray slated to lead for the Democrats and Senator Collins (R-ME) to lead for the Republicans. This will be the first time that both the House and Senate will have female leaders on Appropriations. For the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee on Appropriations, Ranking Member Senator Blunt (R-MO) is retiring meaning a new Republican leader will need to step in and a junior Member could petition to take Senator Murray’s spot as she moves on to lead Appropriations.
And remember, all politics are local politics. State Superintendent races continue in the following states: Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming. Additionally, voters across six states voted on seven education-related ballot measures ranging from additional funding for schools to financial aid for undocumented immigrants. Results so far are as follows: Arizona: it is a tight contest for a proposition that allows undocumented students to pay in state tuition; California: secures a boost in funds of $1 billion for arts; Colorado: an early lead for an increase in state taxes to fund meals that meet nutrition requirements for public schools; Massachusetts: a tax on millionaires to provide education and transportation funding is too early to call with votes still being counted; New Mexico: additional funding for ECE teacher pay and extended school year plus $215 million in bonds for schools passes; West Virginia: voters shut down an amendment that would have required the State Board of Education to obtain legislative approval for proposed rules.
Is your head spinning yet? Mine is.
I would like to take a moment to wish all of those across our nation who have served a Happy Veterans Day — thank you for your service. Until next time, see you on Twitter Kait@brennan_kait.
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